Belfast Telegraph

Concern as new QUB vice-chancellor reveals he's paid almost £300k a year

By Jonathan Bell

A union has raised concerns after the vice-chancellor of Queen's University revealed he will be paid almost £300,000 a year.

Professor Ian Greer said he was "happy" to disclose his salary, saying he earned a £295,000 basic wage with £6,000 employer costs, or pension contributions.

It is understood he is paid £35,000 more than his predecessor, a figure the university did not dispute.

Queen's did not respond when asked if he received additional benefits such as a car or residence.

However, the University and College Union (UCU) said it was concerned at the "rate of knots" the salary had increased.

Professor Greer was appointed in January. He was previously vice-chancellor at the University of Manchester. He replaced Professor Patrick Johnson, who passed away suddenly in June last year at the age of 58.

In his first interview since taking the post, Professor Greer said he was "happy" to disclose his salary.

"Benchmarked against the rest of the Russell Group that's actually at the lower end of the range," he told the BBC.

"To put it into context, Queen's is a global institution. It's a university competing on a global scale and as vice-chancellor of Queen's the job is diverse, it's complex and goes well beyond the reaches of the university."

The Russell Group is a 24-member organisation of universities including Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics.

"I'm excited by the opportunity, that's an opportunity to make a real difference to Northern Ireland, a real difference to the economy, a real difference to the people," Prof Greer added.

"I want to transform people's lives in Northern Ireland and see the economy flourish."

The UCU said it was concerned at the salary increase while staff "suffered effective pay cuts".

Earlier this year its members took strike action over changes to pensions, saying they would be thousands out of pocket.

"University workers' salaries have failed to keep pace with the retail price index over the past decade," it said.

"But vice-chancellor's are now getting paid many multiples of the average worker's wage.

"Our vice-chancellor is now paid double the salary of the British Prime Minister and 11 times what the average Northern Ireland worker earns. This does not help us make a strong case for more funding for Queen's, something we urgently need."

The university said the salary was in line with the complexity and demands of the role.

Dr Stephen Kingon added: "The salary is determined, in line with the guidance issued by the Committee of University Chairs, by the university's remuneration committee, a sub-committee of its governing body, Senate."

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